Jaques Congress Chess Timer
Thomas Bright Wilson (1843-1915) of Manchester, is generally credited
with the invention of the first chess clock, used for the great London
international tournament of 1883. The first patent for a clock was
issued in 1884 to Amandus Schierwater of Liverpool.
Flags were first proposed in 1899 by H.D.B. Meijer of the Netherlands.
In the early days of clocks, overstepping the time limit was not
equivalent to losing a game. Claiming a win was considered unsporting.
The Jaques "Chess Timing Clock"was introduced in the 1890s. The Jan
1898 British Chess Magazine had an advertisement for a 21 shillings
Timer and a 24s one with the "Stop Catch", at the top of this clock,
for stopping both sides. Both were advertised for a few years,
and then only the 21 one, and the name changed to "Congress
Chess Timer". They
ran the ad until 1919 and used the same photo from 1898 all the way
through. The 21s clock is illustrated in
A flag never appeared in the illustrations, which stopped in 1919.
It would seem that the 21s clock had just one clock that oscillated
between the two sides, as described by Jon Crumiler, and for 3s more
you got two clocks with a pivoted control bar at the top. Jaques put
their name plate at the top for the cheaper clock, and at the bottom
for one with the stop catch at the top.
The clocks were made by H.A.C. ( HAMBURG AMERICAN CLOCK Co.,
1883-1929). Founded in 1883 by Paul Landenberger from an earlier
Landenberger and Lang, this German company produced domestic clocks of
all types using American methods and many American designs. In
1892 the firm registered the crossed arrows Trademark which is
instantly recognisable, and can be seen on the Jaques dial. The
company was involved in the production of clock movements, clock parts,
dials, and cases for all types of clocks. Most of these products were
sold to the trade as they were not in the business of selling finished
clocks. Jaques would have bought in the movements (the works) from
H.A.C. and had them assembled into their branded chess clocks. The
rival Tanner chess clock also had movements from H.A.C.